....In the course of a letter which Mrs. Thompson of Morpeth, has received from her son Harry, who is serving in Natal with Col. McKenzie's column, the writer says: - You will have read in the papers about the war that is going on over here, and I am in the thick of it. I had a good deal of experience in the Boer war, which I consider was, however, only child's play compared to this one. We have lost a few men in our column. Tom Malone got shot through the head. He was a great companion of mine over in this country. We are camped on the top of a big kopje. We are worst off for water, we have to travel a mile to seek it, and carry our guns with us, as we are never sure of meeting some of those gentlemen who would very soon have a smack at us if they got half a chance. They have been seen very close into our camp spying about, but they are generally get a warm jacket if they come to close quarters. We spare none of them, as they would not spare any of us; so there is no mercy shown on either side. We have no tents; we sleep on the open veldt, and we feel the cold very much as it is winter here, when you at home will be having the finest of weather. You would not be able to recognise me if you saw me writing this, as we are lucky if we get a wash once a week, and none of us ever shave - so I leave you to judge how we look. We were in the forest for two days clearing a few of them out, but we only killed 6 as they would not stand fire. They are very sly - they will stand very quiet and let us get close up to them, then they let go at us with their assegais, but it takes them to be pretty smart or they are sure to get a soft nose. We slept in the open that night without blanket or any covering at all, and up and at them again next morning. We gave them no rest. We stretcher-bearers are armed with a carbine and two Kaffirs are with us to carry the stretcher. We have to be smart to pick up the wounded, and a party of men fall out with us to escort us with the wounded to a place of safety, or our days would be numbered. Some parts of the bush are so thick that we cannot see daylight. We get fairly good food out here. We have given this bush a good hustling up, and expect to shift to-morrow to have a go with some of the other chiefs and give Bambaata another blow. He has got something to be going on with this last 8 days, I should think our column has killed some 400 of his men.
The only reference I could find to a H. Thompson of Morpeth serving in the ABW is -
"A special drill of the Morpeth Volunteers was held a fortnight ago, for the purpose of enrolling men willing to go on foreign service in South Africa, or to do home garrison duty . . . The following are the names of those who very pluckily volunteered for foreign service: - Lance-Corporal Black, Lance-Corporal Tully, Privates McAllister, Glass, Alder, Crake, Jewitt, R. Appleby, G. Green, C. Haswell, Cooper, E. Atkinson, West, Wright, Emmerson, Proctor, and ex-volunteer H. Thompson." Morpeth Herald, 6th January 1900
Could Harry Thompson have been Private H. P. Thompson of the Natal Medical Corps?